Coroner's Report: Pontiff Died Of Natural Causes

An autopsy determined that LSU baseball player Wally Pontiff, found dead in his parents' home last week, died of natural causes and no drugs were in his system, the Jefferson Parish coroner said Monday. The autopsy found an abnormality in the heart, which is still being tested, so final determination of exact cause of death may take several more days, the coroner's report said. There was also no evidence of trauma or foul play, the statement from Coroner Robert E. Treuting said. He went to extra lengths to spell out that no drugs were involved in the death. ``All toxicology studies were negative,'' Treuting said. ``Specifically there were no illegal drugs, nor any prescription or over-the-counter drugs in his system.'' Janie Badinger, of the coroner's office, said there was no indication that the microscopic examination of the heart abnormality would affect the finding of death by natural causes. Pontiff, 21, a third baseman who was heading into his senior year at LSU, had been picked in the 21st round of this year's draft by the Oakland Athletics. He had not announced whether he would return to LSU for his senior year. He had recently returned home after playing 14 games in the Cape Cod Baseball League, the top amateur league in the country. He was a member of the All-SEC second team this season and had made the first All-SEC team the previous year. Pontiff was found dead in his parent's home in suburban New Orleans July 24. His funeral was Friday at Jesuit High School, where Pontiff was a four-year letterman before moving on to college.